Thursday, October 26th 2023
Nature morte, 1953 & Au comptoir, c.1960
Fikret Moualla's life constantly balanced between impulse and rebellion. The son of a high-ranking official in the Ottoman Empire, he initially chose to follow in his uncle's footsteps and pursue a career as a footballer. Alas, his ambitions were thwarted by an accident that left him unfit for professional sports.
His taste for the arts, which he first developed at the Galatasaray High School of Istanbul, was confirmed during a trip to Europe that began in 1920. He opened up to avant-garde movements such as Fauvism and Expressionism but, due to his fragile mental health, had to stay several times in psychiatric hospitals, which he saw as "a kind of refuge where he could continue to paint".
Returning to Paris in December 1938 or January 1939, after several years in his native country, Fikret Moualla settled in Pigalle before moving to the 14th district of the French capital city. The art market started taking note of his work around 1950. However, as usual with Moualla, he had a quarrelsome relationship with his art dealers, whom he was unable to promise exclusive rights to. "I love freedom above all": this was his motto.
Nevertheless, he managed to get help, starting with Fernande Anglès, who collected the two works we are presenting. After meeting Fikret Moualla in Cannes, she took him under her wing starting in 1959 or 1960. After a stroke had left him hemiplegic in 1962, his benefactress took him into her home before sending him to Reillanne, where she owned several houses. He spent the last years of his life there before dying in 1967.
These two works by Moualla, which were gifted by Ms. Anglès to her housekeeper, each reflect a different period in the artist's life: the punchy colors he favored in the 1950s and the softer tones of the 1960s.